I’m sure they’ll be a lot of “per se” remarks during this review, so bare with me please. No, I’m kidding. I’ll try not to bore you with dry humor, but one would be disappointed if an intrinsically comment wasn’t inserted. When is the last time you and your friends got dressed up and sat down at a REALLY nice restaurant? No, not Red Lobster. (Although, I do enjoy the biscuits are almost as dry as Popeye’s biscuits. Also, nothing beats washing it down with the amount of melted butter they give you for their garlic shrimp. Heavenly) Every once in a while, it’s worth having a dinner with a group of people who share the same interest as you. It helps you clear your mind off of the real world for a minute, and also helps you understand you’re not the only one going through “life”. I guess the challenge is finding one of your friends that won’t argue with the waiter that their water is too cold, even though they asked for ice.
Per Se, a 3-Michelin Star restaurant located on Columbus Circle, is a Thomas Keller led establishment that offers a fixed-price 10-14 course menu. The restaurant has the interior and sophistication that’ll make you question why you don’t usually go to places like this. But, then again, the price of the menu may bring you back to reality like a Thanos snap. One of the things that stood out was how meticulous the staff was regarding things a person liked or remembering what coat you wore because no number was given to you by the maitre’d.
.During my visit, I was able to indulge from items ranging from Antelope to Black Truffle Pasta. I’ll start the review off with the smaller courses. Oysters & Pearls, Salad of Hawaiian Hearts of Peach Palms, and Fluke Tartar were the first few starters. The Oysters & Pearls are one of their signature dishes which include Sabayon of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and Regiis Ova Caviar. This dish was my favorite of the night, and that says alot because there was more than eight more dishes to go. The dish was buttery, salty, and had a slight ocean flavor from the Oysters. The sauce was thickened, but still had a creamy texture to it. The oysters were meaty but the star of the show was the buttery sauce.
The next two dishes were the Salad and TarTar. The salad consisted of English Peas and Pickled Ramps. There were a lot of different ingredients and components to this dish, but the ramps are what stood out to me. The peas were earthy and with this being a semi-cold dish, it really didn’t give me a clear thought of being satisfied with it. I would’ve loved to see some kind of sauce or something a bit more, but this dish was a bit underwhelming. The TarTar was up next and it gave a bit of a redemption to the previous dish. It consisted of Montauk Fluke which was a delicate piece of fish that had a similar taste to salmon. The radishes added a great earthy taste to it, and the presentation was phenomenal. They made their own homemade chip to go with the TarTar which had a bit of spice to it, so it balanced out the light, fish flavor of the TarTar.
The next few dishes consisted of a Scallop, Quail Breast, Antelope, and Truffle Pasta. The Scallop dish consisted of Farro Verde, Charred Eggplant Puree, and Spiced Peanuts. I thought that he Spiced Peanuts worked really well with the Eggplant Puree because both have sort of a robust flavor when put together. If you add that with the delicate texture of the Scallop to go along with the grainy flavor of the Farro then the dish comes together naturally. The Scallop was huge and you can taste how fresh it was, so this dish if offered is definitely one to order.
The Quail Breast was up next. It consisted of Quail Breast, Sweet Corn Waffle, and Black Winter Truffle Enulsion. This was their version of Chicken and Waffles, and I’m not too sure how I feel about a dish like this accompanied with a price tag of sorts. Quail’s are small, so this dish wouldn’t quite fill you up if that’s what you were thinking. The flavors and seasonings were good, and the Sweet Corn Waffle had a unique taste to it where it had a dry but sweet flavoring. My dish was great, but unfortunately a dining partner of mines Chicken was bleeding when they cut through it. I understand things like this happen, but at a restaurant like this, it’s unacceptable. The service was so impeccable that they provided the table with a round of Shaved Black Truffles to go on top of in house pasta.
The pasta was cooked perfectly and I thought the waiters hand would fall off from shaving so many truffles on top, that the entire dish was covered with the mushroom. This dish was offered with a supplemental price, so to have it offered because of a mistake is noteworthy. Al Dente and buttery pasta to say the least.
The last entree of the night was the Antelope. It was Charcoal Grilled and accompanied with Morel Mushrooms, Caramelized Green Garlic, and Aged Bourbon Jus. This was my first time having Antelope and it tasted no differently than any other beef you’ve had. It had a slightly fatty texture, coarsely textured, and sweet. The earthy flavor of the Morel Mushrooms added another flavor to go with the meat. The bourbon Jus had a Worcestershire, vinegary, lemon juice, garlic, and mustard taste which worked well with the fattiness of the Antelope.
Spiced Snap Dragon Apple Mousse and Sugared Donuts were some of the desserts that were offered for the night. The Dragon Apple has a Spicy and Sweet taste which went great with the Candied Walnut that accompanied the dessert as well. The Sugared Donuts were light, fluffy, and a bit crispy. I would’ve loved to have a raspberry sauce with the Donuts or some kind of Ice Cream, but beggars can’t be choosers. Or… Can they?
Overall, this restaurant is actually up to you if you’d like to go. I enjoyed my experience but then I had a few questions regarding the menu. I’ve been to course tasting restaurants where they don’t make you choose “this or that”. You can make one feel a bit cheated when there’s something on the menu you’d like, but would have to pay an extra $30 or $100 to try it. Your bill can easily double with a glass of wine and supplements if you choose to get it, so at the end of the night you can literally pay half of your rent. If you do decide to go to this restaurant, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.